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‘They Shouted “Vande Mataram” While Attacking Us’: ABVP’s Monstrous Attack On FTII Students

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By Students of FTII

Five students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) were attacked outside of the National Film Archives of India (NFAI) on Wednesday by the Akhila Bharateeya Vidyarti Parishad (ABVP)

The attack took place soon after the screening of Anand Patwardhan’s documentary Jai Bheem Comrade and the performance of Kabir Kala Manch at NFAI. The programme was organized by the FTII student’s body in association with Yugpath, a youth forum based in Pune. This was the first public performance of Kabir Kala Manch after two and a half years.

The five students attacked are Shameen a second year cinematography student, Ansar Sha a third year cinematography student, Kislay a third year Editing student, Sriram Raju also a third year Editing student and Ajayan a third year Sound student.


The screening of the documentary and the performance by Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) was finalized two weeks ago. There was a request to cancel the programme from various quarters respecting the call for bandh as a mark of protest against the murder of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dhabolkar. But Yugpath and the FTII student’s body decided to stick to their plan and go ahead with the screening and performance as a mark of respect and homage to Mr. Dhabolkar.

Around 12 ABVP members, who entered NFAI around 5 p.m., were waiting outside the NFAI premises for almost three hours. As soon as the Kabir Kala Manch Members finished their performance, the ABVP members started interrogating the FTII students and verbally accusing them of indulging in anti-national activities by calling KKM to perform in public. The FTII students’ association members retorted by saying that, we all are aware that KKM is a cultural organization and we support their performances which are anti-caste and superstition.

Hearing this, ABVP members started shouting slogans – as “Bharat Maata Ki Jai” “Vande Mataram” and “Down down Naxals.” One of the ABVP members slapped an FTII student, after which some of the other students intervened and started to cool down the situation. The ABVP then ceaselessly went on shouting slogans and took out their Orange flags that they had hidden all this while.

Looking at the tense situation within the NFAI premises, FTII students started walking outside the NFAI gate. The ABVP volunteers followed them, and as soon as the students were outside the gate around 12 ABVP volunteers attacked 4 students with the wooden base of their flags, and one student was hit on the head with a helmet. He was taken to the hospital and got a few stitches on his head.

Before the event was about to begin one police person in plain clothes was investigating the people behind this event. Later we saw the same person was mingling with the ABVP members outside the NFAI premises. And when the students were being beaten by the ABVP, they shouted for police help, but the man didn’t do anything and was just a mute spectator.
The FTII Students Association has filed a complaint against the ABVP at Prabhat Police station.

We as students of FTII don’t see this event as a stray incident. It is a much larger narrative of the rise of authoritarianism and its continuous efforts in curbing the freedom of speech and expression. Students Association of FTII is not affiliated with any political party. We are artists and filmmakers who believe in freedom of self expression through the medium of films, music and theatre. Attacking anyone who is expressing their thoughts through these media is highly condemnable. We are increasingly witnessing that any individual or organization that takes an opinion that is contrary to the mainstream, is labelled as anti-national and all efforts are taken to intimidate them which can also amount to murder, especially looking at the recent case of Dr. Narendra Dabolkar. What is more harrowing is the complete numbness of the state regarding these atrocities, where police personnel despite being present at the situations did not take any action.

We therefore demand quick action against the ABVP so that incidents like these do not occur again. We are also planning to hold a protest march against incidents like these which various cultural institutions are increasing facing.


You must be to comment.
  1. Veer Subhash

    Is this an article or News report ?

    I condemn any sort of violence but I would also remind you that Freedom of speech must not be used as a tool to instigate and irritate someone intentionally.

    I dont see why you mentioned Vande Maatram in your title. The phrase is attached with a lot of emotions just like Jai Shri Ram or ‘Allah O Akbar’ or ‘Jai Bheem’ Your such mindless reporting doesnt not look responsible.

    I have nt seen any of the plays, so i cant comment on them. But Please do remember that Freedom of Speech is a very sensitive thing which you should not used to hurt someone. If tomorrow somebody wants to use this Freedom of expression right to abuse the integrity of nation or abuse your respected parents or abuse your God, will you allow it . These are just few examples amongst the countless many.

    1. Greeshma

      Vande Mataram was misused. A patriotic call to attack students who hosted an event to pay homage to Mr. Dabolkar? I am sorry that is the crux of the matter. The fact that every wrong is righted by a strain of nationalistic fervor that causes a further cultural tension in an already fragile country.

    2. Rigya (@jadedfly)

      True that! Any wrong is wrapped in nationalistic fervour to appropriate it.

    3. Raj

      Your comment has instigated me and intentionally irritated me. You have insulted my parents, my country and my god. Please delete your comment and stop commenting on the Internet.

    4. Veer Subhash

      Few questions –
      1) Narendra Dabholkar were killed on 20th August, around 3 days before this stage event. Any event like thi needs far advanced planing and advertising atleast by a few months. How come now you are saying the event was organised for him ? Why are you linking such un related events, just to gain sympathy and goodwill ?

      2) Never is my life I have ever seen any fight being purely a creation of one party. Taali Ek saath se nahi bajti – I have also heared that few people there were hailing for ‘Naxalism’ and ‘Laal Mahaan’ etc ? How come you ignored those things altogether ?

      3) Lastly – the problem here is, even if i go 100% as per your reports, a political party workers beating some people ? Thats it. Why are you mentioning what they said while beating you ? Whether they say Vande Maatram or Pakistan jindabad, does that make any difference to that point that its the voilence you need to condemn and not what they said .. esp when those words are supposed to be of high reverence.

    5. Raj

      1) Dabholkar was against superstition, which these FTII students could also be against.

      2) So? Is there anything wrong in believing in the ideals of communism? VHP etc. also believe in violent philosophies but does that mean we shut down VHP?

      3) A valid point, even I don’t understand why the title has Vande Mataram in it.

  2. Nikhil

    This is not the story…
    Stop cheap publicity… Plz
    The truth behind fight at #LawCollegeRoad between #ABVP & #KKM

    1. Raj

      Doesn’t matter if it was pro-communism. By your standards even the VHP and ABVP should be banned

  3. Krishna Prasanth

    Its common knowledge that ABVP is the students’ arm of BJP, a pro- upper caste party. Mr. Dabolkar was a rationalist and social worker who had been working hard to eradicate superstitions and caste system in rural areas. I guess, this must be an attempt by the party to deter any organisations like KKM for indulging in glorifying similar activists who try to eradicate social misconceptions, something than help upper castes wield power in rural societies. This seems like a plausible explanation to the events. If these people had links with Naxals, then these so called ‘nationalists’ should have reported to the police. BJP seems no different from Congress when it comes to mobilizing its youth wing for absolutely senseless activities, something that also endangers the sanity of these young people, who ought to be studying and building the society constructively, rather than engaging in violence.

    1. Raj

      Actually I am still wondering what this was all about. Based on the article : ABVP was pro-Dabholkar bandh and anti-Naxal. FTII and KKM were paying homage to Mr. Dabholkar by having the show. So both in essence were pro-Dabhoklar

  4. Baldeep Grewal

    Hence proved that ABVP are a bunch of hooligans with no political knowledge. This incident reminds me of prabhaat pheri (procession taken out in the morning) that all students in my school had to attend on national holidays. We would walk in the streets of urban ludhiana with our teachers shouting things like ‘inqalaab zindabad’. We didn’t realize the meaning of these words nor their context. It was artifice, a mere performance. and that is what ABVP does, a mere performance of politics. Shame.

    It’s always disastrous when art and politics mix :/

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